Where Does Ginseng Grow?

Wild Ginseng, Panax quinquefolius, is native to the deciduous forests of the United States from the Midwest to Maine, and further north into eastern Canada. The most popular habitat where wild ginseng is found is through the Appalachian and the Ozark. Just be sure you know how to identify ginseng before you go romping through your backyard woodlot!

Ginseng can grow in zones 3-7, sometimes into zone 8.

The native habitat of wild ginseng includes the following states:

Maine New Hampshire Vermont
Rhode Island Connecticut New York
Pennsylvania Delaware Maryland
Indiana West Virginia Virginia
South Carolina Georgia Kentucky
Alabama Mississippi Michigan
Missouri Arkansas Louisiana
Iowa South Dakota Nebraska
Oklahoma Massachusetts North Carolina
Minnesota New Jersey Tennessee
Kansas Ohio Illinois

Zones 3-8 encompass the rest of the states, which means that ginseng can generally tolerate the climate of every other state, save for southern California, southern Arizona, southern Texas, and southern Florida. Ginseng cannot tolerate the climate of Alaska or Hawaii.

Ginseng typically grows in the shade of deciduous, mixed hardwood trees. In northern states, these forests typically contain trees such as the sugar maple, black cherry, and white ash. In southern states, ginseng typically grows around poplar, hickory, and oak.

Native plants are often found on East or North-facing slopes where there is 60-90% shade canopy provided by the neighboring trees.

 

The soil should be composed of a sandy loam, well-draining with a high organic content, such as the rich soil found in woodland forests that have had years of plant decay mixed in.

The soil pH should ideally be between 5.0 and 6.5, which will discourage bacterial diseases and help the plant absorb all the nutrients it needs to develop into a healthy adult plant.

The average temperature should fall somewhere around 50 degrees Fahrenheit; somewhere where all four seasons are present so the plant can be exposed to sub-freezing weather for at least a few weeks out of the year.

Want to Learn More About Ginseng?

Enjoy more in-depth information about how to identify, grow, and harvest your own American ginseng crop in HerbSpeak's new book: How to Grow Ginseng.

In this book, you’ll learn everything you need to know about growing ginseng – specifically American ginseng, Panax quinquefolius – and how to care for this wonderful plant from seed to harvest.

Beyond that, you’ll learn why such a small root has earned such an honorable reputation, and what you can do to help keep this plant in our lives no matter what your motivation for growing ginseng is.

Your journey into the world of ginseng starts here.